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Yuletide at Devon Opens Magical Christmas Village

Imagine entering a Victorian village with quaint cottages bursting with gifts, delicious food and drink, carolers singing Christmas songs, and amusement rides for the kids.

You’ve entered Yuletide at Devon at the iconic Devon Horse Show and Country Fair. The decorations and lights make an enchanting backdrop to wander about, sample food and drinks, and shop or ride a Ferris wheel or old-fashioned carousel.

Villanova resident Bob Bickhart, owner of event company Spectacle Reality, and his son, Jes Bickhart, a producer in Los Angeles, welcomed people at a press preview last Monday. Yuletide at Devon runs until Dec. 31.

“This is a first-of-its-kind festival,” said Jes Bickhart. “It combines food and wine. It combines rides and music. You can see a 2,000-foot stage being built now. It’s fun to bring all these elements together to celebrate the holidays, to celebrate family.”

Bob Brickhart said it was “a pleasure” to work with the Devon Horse Show people, the folks at Tredyffrin and Easttown townships, food provider Strother, and sponsors Aqua PA and Independence Blue Cross.

Bob Bickhart told DVJournal they had been thinking of bringing a German-style Christmas market, such as Saltzburg, to the suburbs for several years and looked at venues, including sites in Doylestown and Lancaster County.

But he is pleased that they were able to strike a deal to rent the Devon Horse Show grounds.

“We wanted to take advantage of it if we could make it work,” he said. “We want to be a celebration of the holiday. We’d love to be back (next year).”

Many of the 37 small shops were filled with winter sweaters, hats, gloves and mittens, such as an offering from Cranberry Street Boutique of Royerford. Others had jewelry or toys on display.

Melissa Morales brought a variety of her handmade, organic Melmo’s dog treats, cat treats, and various items, such as charming dog breed nutcrackers, that will appeal to pet owners.

Morales, of South Philadelphia, has been in business for six years. She has booths at two other Christmas venues, one in Easton and one in Bethlehem. Her products are also available at Giant stores and online.

Chris LeVine, with the Inn at Grace Winery in Glen Mills, was also on hand getting his onsite shop squared away.

“We grow it,” said LeVine. “We bottle it. We sell it. We’re pleased to be here.”

Strother Enterprises’ Legacy Culinary Group curated a festive menu for guests to enjoy while attending the holiday festival. Minority-owned and Philadelphia-based Legacy Culinary Group, led by Chef Chris Nguyen, offers Devon a gourmet farm-to-table experience. Both Yuletide and Strother are family-owned and operated.

The menu will include internationally inspired dishes like creamy mac and cheese cups topped with brisket burnt ends, currywurst and pomme frites, lemongrass chicken, grilled short ribs Bulgogi, fried chicken and waffles, prosciutto and arugula pizza, Thai noodle salad, grilled raclette on sourdough with fig jam, and banana Nutella crepes.

The food is paired with craft drinks, including alcoholic and non-alcoholic holiday-themed beverages.

“We are excited to partner with Jes and Rob to bring this one-of-a-kind holiday festival to the region,” said Natasha Strother Lassiter, chief strategy officer of Strother Enterprises. “We’ve designed an elevated menu exclusively for Yuletide to celebrate the time-honored tradition of holiday gatherings. Guests will enjoy a festive, farm-to-table food experience where every dish will speak to our legacy of timeless, world-class cuisine.”

Tickets are $34.99 for adults and $22.99 for children 3 to 8. Children younger than 3 are free. Food, drinks, live music, pictures with Santa, and amusement rides are included.

 

Ukrainian Folk Festival 2023 Set for Aug. 27

Even as the war in their homeland continues, local Ukrainians plan to hold a “Celebration of Liberty and Unity” Folk Festival to celebrate the 32nd anniversary of Ukraine’s independence and raise money for their beleaguered countrymen.

Spokesman Eugene Luciw called the upcoming festival “exciting, spectacular, dazzling, breathtaking, exhilarating, spirited, soulful, enchanting, captivating, and intriguing,” as well as “cultural fireworks.”

He said the traditional colorful clothing, music, dancing, foods, arts and crafts will be displayed at the folk festival.

“We have just gone past 500 days of the Russian war and genocide upon Ukraine,” Luciw said. While it is “difficult to think of a celebration,” holding it and “cherishing our culture are also important.”

While Russia claims Ukraine is not an independent country, it is older than Russia and has its own language, culture, art, food, and traditions, he said. “We are a separate people, and we demonstrate that in bold relief.”

It is also important to show “our neighbors who we are and get to know what is happening in Europe. Ukraine is fighting for independence and freedom,” Luciw said. They are the same values the United States and Western Europe hold dear and that “Ukraine is fighting for today.”

Attendees will be steeped in Ukrainian culture by savoring the rich color and deep symbolism of the delicate “pysanka” (Ukrainian Easter egg) and the power, rhythm, and strength of “Hopak” –called the world’s most exciting ethnic dance and every brilliant “Kolomiyka” (polka) and soulful folk song in between. It will be an experience not to be missed, he said.

Ukrainian crafts, such as embroidered clothing, will be sold at a bazaar, and traditional Ukrainian foods, baked goods, barbeque pit, and cool drinks will be served.

Performers include Ukrainian Superstar pop singer-songwriter Iryna Lonchyna;  the Voloshky Ukrainian Dance ensemble, the Carpathia Folk Dance Ensemble; singer Yuliya Stupen; violinist Innesa Tymochko Dekajlo; the Ferko Mummers String Band; the Ariana Lem Joy Trio; and the Vox Ethnika Band. Also, the Banner of Jasna Gora Monastery will be displayed. The concert runs from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.

The Ukrainian Folk Festival 2023 will be held Sunday, August 27, 12:00 – 8:00  p.m. at the Ukrainian American Sports Center –Tryzub, County Line and Lower State roads in Horsham.

Admission (open to the general public, at the gate only): $15 ($2 of each paid admission will be donated to Humanitarian Relief of Victims of War in Ukraine). Kids under 15 are free. Parking is free. For information: (267) 664-3857.

 

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